Authorities have recovered the body of a third person who died during flooding and mudslides in an area of northern Colorado. One person is still missing.
The flooding and slides in the area were burned last year by the 326-square-mile (844-square-kilometer) Cameron Peak Fire, the largest in Colorado’s history. Fires torch vegetation that usually helps absorb rain and keeps the ground stable, making those areas more vulnerable to flooding, especially in steep sections. The soil in burned areas can also repel rain.
According to federal fire managers, extreme temperatures, low humidity, gusty winds, and rough terrain contributed to the rapid growth of the fire, the first to spread to about 313 square miles (811 square kilometers) in the state.
Scientists say climate change is responsible for more intense and frequent extreme weather like flooding and droughts and events like wildfires. However, more research is needed to determine how much global warming is to blame, if at all.